5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 10

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Dell EMC for unveiling its highly competitive – and for partners, highly profitable – new channel program.

Also making the list are a major Cisco-Microsoft alliance in the hybrid cloud arena, a Cognizant deal that avoids a protracted battle with activist investor Elliott Management, competitive wins by Arrow in the fast-changing distribution industry, and new channel partner programs from security vendors ThreatTrack and ForeScout.

Not everyone in the IT industry was making smart moves this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Dell EMC Goes On The Attack With Incentive-Packed Partner Program

Channel partners are applauding the new partner program Dell EMC launched this week that nearly doubles the storage rebates from the legacy EMC program and rewards partners handsomely for selling hyper-converged and converged infrastructure solutions combining server, storage and networking products.

Dell EMC executives said their goal is to provide the most profitable partner program in the industry. The program rollout follows Dell's $58 billion acquisition of EMC last September.

Aside from the obvious benefits for partners, Dell EMC's new program steps up the company's competitive stance against chief competitors Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco Systems and Lenovo.

Cisco UCS-Microsoft Azure Alliance Targets Hybrid Cloud Acceleration

Cisco Systems teamed up with Microsoft in the data center arena this week, integrating its Unified Computing System with the Microsoft Azure stack.

The value proposition is that combining the Azure cloud platform with Cisco UCS into an integrated system that's specifically designed for cloud workloads will give customers full control over how they manage cloud system security and performance.

For Cisco and Microsoft, the alliance strengthens their positions in the competitive hybrid cloud-computing arena. For partners, it creates recurring revenue opportunities in a booming market.

Cognizant Strikes Deal With Activist Investor, Vows Growth And Bigger Returns

Multiple companies have found themselves in protracted battles with Elliott Management after the activist investment firm acquired stakes in the companies and demanded changes in business strategy, board membership and even corporate structure.

Many observers expected the same with Cognizant when Elliott Management disclosed in November that it had acquired a 4 percent stake in the solution provider and demanded that it shake up its board and buy back $2.5 billion of its stock.

But this week Cognizant wisely struck a deal with Elliott Management, agreeing to appoint three independent members to its board, create a Finance Policy Committee, invest in new technology practices, target non-GAAP operating margins of 22 percent by 2019, and return $3.4 billion to shareholders through stock buybacks and dividends.

The move means Cognizant avoids a lengthy fight with Elliott Management that would distract it from its business. It also establishes a plan that will lead to larger investments in the company's high-margin digital business and reduced spending on businesses that don't meet profit margin goals.

Arrow Snags $350M Of Channel Business From Competitors, Lands Dell Enterprise Portfolio

Arrow Electronics said this week that it has agreements to grab more than $350 million of annual business from competing IT distributors in coming quarters. The distributor also said it has been authorized to carry Dell's enterprise IT product portfolio.

President and CEO Mike Long disclosed the new distributor deals during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call this week. The news means that Arrow is successfully capitalizing on the significant changes the distribution industry is currently undergoing, including Tech Data's pending acquisition of Avnet's Technology Solutions business for $2.6 billion, the recent acquisition of Ingram Micro by a Chinese logistics company for $6 billion, and the possible sale of distributor Westcon-Comstor by Datatec.

Under the Dell deal, Arrow, starting this month, is authorized to distribute Dell's enterprise products in the same markets where it already carry's EMC products. That will likely fuel the growth of Arrow's Enterprise Computing Solutions business, Long said.

ForeScout, ThreatTrack Launch New Partner Programs

Security technology vendors ForeScout Technologies and ThreatTrack Security both win kudos this week for launching new channel programs to recruit new partners and help partners capitalize on new opportunities.

ThreatTrack unveiled a new partner program for solution providers who work with its Vipre endpoint security products. The program, which offers significantly higher margins than an earlier program, will be used by the company in what it describes as an "aggressive" push to recruit new SMB partners.

ForeScout, meanwhile, debuted an updated edition of its ForeScout Forward Partner Program that the vendor said would help solution providers capitalize on opportunities in Internet of Things security and capture more margin with customers. The new program is also designed with a more regional focus to help the vendor make partner investments overseas.